Search Engine Marketing News May 2013

Another month has flown by and it’s been a busy-ish month in the world of SEM. With no major updates around Enhanced Campaigns and Adwords in general, the main news has been about the return of a well known animal…

Penguin Is Back With A Vengeance!

Penguin 2.0 was released late May as Google’s latest update to fight against spam. This 4th update attempts to prevent spammy, low authority websites gaining positions in the SERP’s. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google has said that 2.3% of English queries would be affected by this update.

Google Conversational Search Live on Chrome

So voice recognition technology giving responses isn’t a new concept. Apple have been doing it with ‘Siri’ for a while now but after having a play around on both I’d say Google’s works surprisingly well. If you have the new version of Chrome, you can click on the microphone button and ask a question which Google will respond both verbally and in the search results.

There are some flaws with the voice recognition which can only be anticipated but the opportunity for search is huge and on the whole is pretty well constructed.

Google Author Authority Algorithm Launched

Further to the Penguin updates and Google’s bid to penalize spammy sites and reward quality content, more and more emphasis is being placed on industry authority figures. Google stated this month that they are working on an algorithm to determine subject authorities across the web.

Matt Cutts said – “We are doing a doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to makes sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users.”

Adwords Editor Update 10.1

Adwords Editor 10.1 was available this month with changes made to make it easier to make changes within Enhanced Campaigns. The main changes were to:

  • Set bid adjustments for placements, topics, and audiences.
  • Set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level.
  • Upgrade campaigns in bulk using CSV import or the Add/update multiple campaigns tool.
  • Use the new ValueTrack {ifmobile}, {ifnotmobile} parameters.

Google Testing Ads in Google Maps

Google announced that they are testing ads within Google Maps. An pretty unsurprising move from Google which had been expected. Haven’t yet seen this in action but Google are testing search ads with and without location extensions on the map and below the search box. There is huge potential for local businesses around this so I guess watch this space!

  • Search ads with location extensions can appear directly on the map and just below the search box
  • Search ads without location extensions can appear just below the search box

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The Good, Bad and Ugly Of Google’s ‘Enhanced Campaigns’

After Google’s reps doing the rounds to give a ‘heads-up’ that a change was about to happen, they have now publicly announced their ‘enhanced campaigns‘, so we can now talk about this huge announcement that is going to affect every single one of us PPC marketers. Enhanced campaigns are set to completely disregard device types to attempt to focus on the person rather than the device.

Google will be automatically changing campaigns to run on all devices rather than splitting them out by mobile, tablet, desktop meaning ad-targeted capabilities are extremely limited. They will now be split into mobile and desktop & tablet.

Google are claiming that consumers behaviours on devices are becoming the same, but are they really?! I don’t believe so. Many people use their phones on the commute to work or just during the day to browse on the internet, not really looking to purchase until later on when they get home. At which point they (including me) use a computer/tablet to have a quick check on Google again before being ready to purchase. People DO use devices for different things and that’s why we need different messaging, URL’s and bids.

So, here’s the good, bad and ugly of this latest announcement (in reverse order):

Ugly

Most PPC accounts are now set up to to treat mobile, tablet and desktop as completely different entities (rightly so) whether that’s by using different landing pages, ad copy, keywords or bids. The ‘enhanced campaigns’ now mean that it is much more difficult to target devices differently. Bid multipliers will mean that you can change bids by a certain %, similar to how hour of the day bid management is set up. Campaigns will now have to be merged into one with no real targeting capabilities.

Bad

Without separate bid targeting per device, tablets and mobile devices which have seen considerably lower CPC’s will now be increased along with competition. Despite the huge reach in mobile and tablet devices, lots of businesses were still not targeting by mobile and tablet but will now be forced to, meaning competition is increased and therefore so are CPC’s. As I was typing this I just realised how bad this could be so it should really be under the ugly category too!

Quality scores will now be rolled into one, so you will not have different quality scores by device type. This could actually increase or decrease overall quality scores dependent on if an account had high or low quality scores for mobile and tablet devices.

Good

It is not expected to be rolled out until June, so it gives us all some time I guess.

Oh, and the best news to come out of this announcement….. sitelinks are finally getting sorted (woohoo…). We will now be able to see stats on each individual sitelink. Reporting will also be improved with the ability to still report on device,

There are many questions that still remain to be answered (other than, why Google, why?!) but at least we have a few months to think how it affects us and how we can make the best of the situation.

How will it affect your PPC campaigns?